Kids & Toys
From The History Channel:
1840 The first American doll maker is granted a patent and dolls begin to be mass-produced in America for the first time.
1800s Playgrounds begin to appear in American cities. The idea stemmed from the efforts of city reformers who were searching for more healthful play options for children in urban areas, where parks and yards were scarce. The playgrounds started off as “sand gardens,” inspired by those seen by an American social worker while visiting Berlin. Financed by local businesses, city playgrounds soon included swings and see-saws.
1843 The Mansion of Happiness is developed by S.B. Ives in Salem, Massachusetts. It becomes the first board game sold in the United States.
1886 The first BB gun is created. Made for children, it scares many parents because it is actually a working gun that can cause injury. The BB gun is a descendant of the cap gun, which was invented soon after the Civil War, when some shotgun manufacturers converted their factories to make toys. Penny pistols and other authentic looking toy guns also began to appear in the 1880s.
1887 The speaking doll, which had first been invented by Johann Maelzel in 1820, is improved when Thomas Edison combines his phonograph technology with a doll, allowing it to speak.
1896 A westernized version of the Indian game Parcheesi is introduced in England under the name Ludo. Parcheesi is a type of “cross and circle” game, which dates back to 300 A.D. and was played in the Korean, Syrian, and Aztec cultures.
Late 1880s Maj Jongg, which was named for a Chinese word meaning “sparrow,” originates in the Ningbo area of China. Games like Mah Jongg had been played as long ago as 800.
1901 At just twenty-two years old, Joshua Lionel Cowen creates a battery-powered train engine as an “animated advertisement” for products in a store’s display window. To his surprise, customers are more interested in purchasing his toy train, than the merchandise in the display. Lionel Trains is born.